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Another family mourning the death of a daughter in a boat accident urges boater safety laws

Still mourning daughter, family talks boating safety
Still mourning daughter, family talks boating safety 03:32

MIAMI - Hundreds of mourners are remembering the life of a 15-year-old Ella Adler, killed in a crash off Key Biscayne while she was water skiing.

Police are still searching for the boater who hit her and never stopped.

The parents of another teen girl who also lost her life in a boating accident say they know what the Adler family is going through and it is time to make a difference.

"Enough is enough, how many more of our children are we going to lose?" said Andy Fernandez.

Fernandez and his wife Melissa are the parents of Lucy Fernandez, who died in a Labor Day Weekend boat crash in 2022. Just like Ella Adler, Fernandez was attending a friend's birthday.

Fernandez was on board a 29-foot-vessel when it crashed into a channel marker near Boca Chita Key. Her parents feel for the Adler family who are going through the same heart-crushing pain.

"We want the Adler family to know that we are standing in absolute solidarity with them," said Andy Fernandez.

Adler was water skiing near Key Biscayne's Nixon Beach sandbar on Saturday when she fell in the water while skiing and was hit by a boat.

Monday morning hundreds of mourners packed Temple Beth Sholom on Miami Beach for final services for the teen.

"She was a great dancer. My daughter's best friend," said Loren Pearson.

Miami City Ballet also issued a statement:

"We at Miami City Ballet and the Miami City Ballet School are utterly devastated by the heartbreaking news of this tragic incident... Ella Adler was not just a beloved student and a magnificent dancer, she was an integral part of our family..."

CBS News Miami's Ivan Taylor spoke with Andy Fernandez about Adler's accident. Fernandez said he has over 30 years of experience as a boater.

"In the case of Ella, it was a hit-and-run accident. Is it possible that the person who was driving the boat would have hit the girl and not know that he hit her?" asked Taylor

"My personal opinion is they must have felt something or known something (they hit in the water)," he said.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is looking for a center console boat with a light blue hull, with multiple white outboard engines and it may have blue or dark blue bottom paint.

"There should be a manhunt for this boat at this point, but at the very least somebody should be turning themselves in," added Melissa Fernandez.

The Fernandez family is channeling their pain by raising awareness of the need to establish laws and regulations for boaters. They've created a foundation in their daughter's name.

"Through the foundation what we are trying to do is we are trying to make better operators, safer operators," said Andy Fernandez.

Florida does not require a license for boating. The state only requires anyone born after January 1, 1988, to complete a boating safety course and obtain a boating safety ID card.

"We're asking, we started a petition asking that all voters regardless of the date they were born, if they operate a boat they go through a certification course," said Melissa Fernandez. 

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